Anton J. Kuzel, M.D.
Professor and chair

familymedicine.vcu.edu

The Department of Family Medicine and Population Health hosts both a robust residency program for family physicians and academic programs at the graduate level dealing with critical issues in public health. Within the department, the Division of Epidemiology integrates research, education and public health service programs. The department offers a Ph.D. degree in epidemiology along with a fully accredited Master of Public Health degree. Close ties to the Virginia Department of Health allow opportunities for students to immerse themselves in experiential learning with these public health partners. The doctoral training program in epidemiology cultivates public health scientists equipped to use state-of-the-art research methods for the purpose of advancing fundamental knowledge of issues central to the improvement of population health.

EPID   543. Statistical Methods I. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: Graduate standing, or one course in statistics and permission of instructor. Basic concepts and techniques of statistical methods, including: the collection and display of information, data analysis, and statistical measures; variation, sampling and sampling distributions; point estimation, confidence intervals and tests of hypotheses for one and two sample problems; principles of one-factor experimental design, one-way analysis of variance and multiple comparisons; correlation and simple linear regression analysis; contingency tables and tests for goodness of fit. Students may not receive degree credit for both STAT 541 and STAT   543. STAT   543 is not applicable toward the M.S. degree in mathematical sciences or the M.S. degree in computer science.

EPID   547. Applied Data Analysis Lab I. 1.5 Hour.

Semester course; 1.5 laboratory hours. 1.5 credits. Corequisite: BIOS   547. Lab sessions will focus on hands-on data analysis and presentation techniques using SAS statistical software. The labs will also provide exercises to help students more fully understand the statistical principles presented in the corequisite lecture course (BIOS   547).

EPID   548. Applied Data Analysis Lab II. 1.5 Hour.

Semester course; 1.5 laboratory hours. 1.5 credits. Prerequisite: BIOS   547, EPID   547 with minimum grade of B. Must enroll concurrently in BIOS   548 to take this course. Lab sessions will focus on hands-on data analysis and presentation techniques using SAS statistical software. The labs will also provide exercises to help students more fully understand the statistical principles presented in the corequisite lecture course (BIOS   548).

EPID   571. Principles of Epidemiology. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Corequisites: BIOS   547 and EPID   547. Offers the theoretical foundations, concepts and principles of epidemiological research methods utilized to examine the distribution and determinants of diseases or other health problems. Entails understanding of measures of disease frequency and association, descriptive and analytic studies, community surveys, sampling, bias, confounding surveillance, outbreak investigation, screening and research proposal writing. Also provides basic foundations for data analysis and its translation into health care planning, management and policy formulation.

EPID   580. Public Health Ethics. 1 Hour.

Online course; 1 lecture hour. 1 credit. The class examines, from an ethical perspective, federal and state public health practices, privacy and confidentiality issues; mental health practices; abortion, contraception and sterilization; patients’ rights; medical care; human experimentation; terminal illness; AIDS and other infectious diseases; environmental justice; health planning and reimbursement; and medical malpractice. The national health care reform legislation will be discussed.

EPID   593. MPH Practicum. 1-2 Hours.

Semester course; variable hours. 1-2 credits. Students will be asked to work a minimum of four hours per week in a professional public health setting and engage in selected training to develop a foundation of basic skills in areas such as communication, leadership and professionalism. The practicum placement will be made according to student area of interest. Students will work as members of collaborative public health teams fulfilling varied missions. They will complete assigned team tasks, shadow public health professionals, attend meetings and take part in other organizational activities that will provide a basic foundation of knowledge and experience in public health research and/or practice. Graded as S/U/F.

EPID   600. Introduction to Public Health. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Describes the public health system in the United States. Explores the disease prevention and philosophy and foundations of public health management, economics, law, ethics and education. Examines the use of epidemiology and statistics to determine personal, environmental, and occupational health problems.

EPID   601. Contemporary Issues and Controversies in Public Health. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. This course introduces students to current issues and controversies in public health such as HIV transmission risk behavior, poverty, globalization, gun control, health care access and obesity. Students will be able to describe these controversies and argue differing perspectives on the major issues.

EPID   603. Public Health Policy and Politics. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Provides an understanding of the public health policy development process, the influence of politics and special interest groups on this process, and current governmental policies for the provision of major public health services. The legislative process is a major focus of the course.

EPID   604. Principles of Environmental Health. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Major public health issues associated with exposure to toxic substances and harmful physical or infectious agents in the environment and the workplace. Covers naturally occurring and human contamination of air, water and land by toxic substances and other agents. Includes overview of relevant governmental legal and regulatory policy.

EPID   606. Epidemiologic Methods. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: EPID   571, minimum grade of B. Focuses on examining the design, conduct and analysis of major epidemiologic studies and the methods to deal with the problems of bias, confounding and effect modification; using multivariate modeling techniques focusing on applications of logistic regression and Cox proprtional hazards models to answer relevant research questions; solving meta-analytic problems using fixed and random effects models; understanding specific research areas of disease screening and exposure assessment; writing a research paper based on literature review and data analyses of a large dataset demonstrating application of essential epidemiologic abd biostatistical principles.

EPID   607. Nutritional Epidemiology. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: EPID   571. This course focuses on methods of measuring exposures to dietary factors for epidemiological investigations of diet-disease relationships and risk assessment. An introductory course in basic epidemiology is a prerequisite. Students learn to select the most appropriate method(s) of collecting and analyzing food intake and to evaluate the adequacy of dietary assessment methods used in published epidemiological studies.

EPID   619. CONTEMP & CONTROVERSE ISSUES. 3 Hours.

EPID   620. Cancer Epidemiology. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: EPID   571, BIOS   547-548, minimum grade of B and EPID   547-548, minimum grade of B. Covers general principles of carcinogenesis and the genetics of cancer; domestic and international patterns in cancer incidence and mortality; cancer surveillance and screening, and their relation to cancer prevention; epidemiologic characteristics and risk factors for cancers to the lung, breast, prostate, gastrointestinal tract, pancreas, bladder, endometrium, ovary, cervix and skin, as well as cancer in children and young adults; and the public health implications of cancer. Additional focus on critical evaluation of different methodological approaches used in cancer research and potential biases inherent given study designs.

EPID   622. Maternal and Child Health. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: EPID   571, BIOS   547-548, minimum grade of B and EPID   547-548, minimum grade of B. Exposes students to current issues in maternal and child health primarily using a domestic perspective. Students will learn about key MCH topics including intergenerational risk factors, low birth weight, infant mortality, developmental disabilities and childhood obesity. Students will use epidemiological methods to evaluate MCH data to determine risk and protective factors for women and children, and describe how these data guide public health policy and program-planning efforts.

EPID   624. Chronic Disease Epidemiology. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: EPID   571 with a minimum grade of B or permission of the instructor. Course will cover the contribution of chronic diseases to population disease and disability as well as identify the incidence, prevalence and financial impact of each of the model diseases addressed. At the conclusion of the course, the student should be able to apply the concepts to all chronic diseases. The student will analyze selected current research in the area and determine points at which translational research is likely to improve the ability of the health care system to manage these problems.

EPID   642. Advanced Epidemiological Protocol Design. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: EPID   571; EPID   606 or equivalent; and BIOS   554 Develops skills needed to design and describe in written format a valid and appropriate epidemiology study to address specific hypotheses. Hypotheses and possible design methods will be discussed in class and subsequently students will present (both orally and in written form) a research design to include a critical review of the literature and hypotheses to be tested. The proposal must address sample size and power, exposure definition, methods for accurate exposure assessment, prevention of measurement errors, and statistical methods proposed for analysis.

EPID   646. Epidemiology of Psychiatric and Substance Use Disorders. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture and 1 laboratory hours. 3 credits. This course is intended to introduce the descriptive and analytic epidemiology for major mental disorders of childhood, adulthood and late adult life. The course will address three main topics: (1) conceptual and methodological considerations in psychiatric epidemiologic research, (2) the descriptive epidemiology of major psychiatric and substance use disorders and (3) the analytic epidemiology of major psychiatric and substance use disorders. The course will also examine issues of classification and the nosology of psychiatric disorders as well as operational case definitions and the measurement techniques for field surveys and risk-factor research. Students will become familiar with epidemiologic surveys appropriate for risk factor research for psychiatric and substance use disorders. Prerequisitefor master’s students: EPID   571 with a minimum grade of B; prerequisite for doctoral students: EPID   650 with a minimum grade of B; or permission of instructor.

EPID   648. Behavioral Epidemiology. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: EPID   571; SBHD   605 with a minimum grade of B; and BIOS   543 or BIOS   547 and EPID   547 with minimum grades of B; or permission of instructor. Covers behavioral epidemiology and its role in public health. Students will be able to identify and explain the appropriate methods for measuring health-related behaviors and related psychosocial constructs; critically analyze the appropriateness of methods used within published studies on behavior as well as determine appropriate methods for behavior-related research questions; and apply behavioral theory/models to current public health problems including, but not limited to, intervention development and evaluation.

EPID   649. Analysis of Health Datasets. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Corequisites: EPID   650 and BIOS   553 concurrently taken; or permission of instructor. Epidemiologic research, health services research and social/behavioral science research very often conduct "secondary analysis" of existing population-level datasets, as well as different forms of health care data (claims data, electronic prescribing data, electronic medical records). At the end of the course, students will be familiar with the scope of available large, population-based public datasets for health care and public health research. They will understand the strengths and limitations of using these datasets for secondary research and be able to apply this understanding to decisions regarding research questions, dataset use and analysis plans. In the process, they will also develop skills in manipulating complex administrative data sources (including claims data, electronic prescribing data and electronic medical records). Students will acquire knowledge to deal with potential challenges in implementing case-control or cohort studies based on data collected for reasons other than for research. Competencies in sampling methods, weighting, small area estimation techniques, probabilistic matching, multiple imputation methods, geocoding and other issues will be emphasized. Students will download, link and analyze several data sets to understand the advantages of these data. Familiarity with statistical analysis software is required.

EPID   650. Epidemiologic Methods for Research. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: Intermediate level epidemiology course (such as VCU's EPID   606) at the master's level, with minimum grade of B; or permission of the instructor. Students will learn principles of epidemiologic methods and their application for analysis and interpretation of public health data. This course provides advanced introductory training for conducting epidemiologic investigations of disease etiology, surveillance and health care services, as well as for interpretation of published epidemiologic studies. Upon completion, students should be sufficiently familiar with epidemiologic research methods to begin applying these methods in their own work. The course is intended for doctoral students in epidemiology or related disciplines.

EPID   651. Intermediate Epidemiologic Methods for Research. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: EPID   650, minimum grade of B. Course will provide in-depth understanding of epidemiologic methods and their application for analysis and interpretation of public health data. This course emphasizes decision-making in research methods to increase the efficiency of study design by reducing bias. Students will gain expertise in methodologic thinking as applied to their own work. Nonexperimental study designs are the focus of the class. Course provides opportunities for students to develop expertise in reading epidemiologic methods research. Upon completion, students should have attained expertise in epidemiologic research methods to apply in their own work. The course is intended for doctoral students in epidemiology or related disciplines.

EPID   652. Advanced Epidemiologic Methods and Data Analysis. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: Intermediate level epidemiology course at the master's level (such as VCU's EPID   606) with a minimum grade of B and BIOS   554, minimum grade of B. Focuses on development of analytical strategies for data analysis guided by epidemiologic principles. Specific statistical modeling will be tailored for analysis of data from cross-sectional, case-control and cohort studies with emphasis on causal inference, prediction, controlling for confounding and assessment of interaction and intermediate effects. Course topics include logistic regression, Poisson regression, Cox proportional hazards model, propensity score method, generalized estimating equations and path analysis technique.

EPID   690. Journal Club. 1 Hour.

Semester course; 1 lecture hour. 1 credit. Talks given by students and faculty describing and critiquing recent published research or review articles. Graded as S/U/F.

EPID   691. Special Topics. 1-6 Hours.

Semester course; variable hours. 1-6 credits. This course provides the opportunity for students to focus in depth on a particular area of interest and allows students to tailor their education to their specific needs and interests. Such flexibility adds strength to the program and promotes the independence of dedicated students. Arrangements are made with the appropriate faculty member.

EPID   692. Independent Study. 1-6 Hours.

Semester course; variable hours. 1-6 credits. Provides the opportunity for students to explore a topic of interest under the direction of a faculty member. A proposal must be submitted for approval and credits are assigned commensurate with the complexity of the project. Arrangements are made directly with the appropriate faculty member and graduate program director.

EPID   693. Public Health Internship. 1-3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 1-3 credits. Prerequisites: 18 credits in the M.P.H. program, EPID   571 and BIOS   547, both with minimum grades of B. Students will spend 180 hours in a planned, supervised experience with a community agency. Such agencies might include a local free clinic or other nonprofit organization, such as the American Cancer Society, or a local, state or federal public health agency. Graded as S/U/F.

EPID   694. MPH Capstone Project. 1-6 Hours.

Semester course; variable hours. 1-6 credits. Each student will complete a research project that demonstrates the application of the knowledge acquired in the MPH program. The student will answer one or more relevant research or applied practice questions; the final product is a scholarly written report of publishable quality. A proposal must be submitted for approval and credits are assigned commensurate with the complexity of the project. Arrangements are made directly with a faculty member and approved by the graduate program director. Graded as S, U or F.

EPID   696. Special Topics. 1-3 Hours.

Semester course; 1-3 variable hours. 1-3 credits. Provides the opportunity for students to focus in depth on a particular area of interest and allows students to tailor their education to their specific needs and interests. Such flexibility adds strength to the program and promotes the independence of dedicated students. Arrangements are made with the appropriate faculty member. Graded as S/U/F.

EPID   697. Directed Research in Epidemiology. 1-15 Hours.

Semester course; 1-15 credits. Research leading to the Ph.D. degree. Graded as "S," "U" or "F.